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Violets in a Crucible’ - Translating the Orient

Abstract : “Hence the vanity of translation; it were as wise to cast a violet into a crucible that you might discover the formal principle of its colour and odour, as seek to transfuse from one language into another the creations of a poet. The plant must spring again from its seed, or it will bear no flower – and this is the burthen of the curse of Babel.” (Shelley) Without cultural dialogue, humanity remains locked in a Tower of Babel. Focusing on cultural exchanges between East and West through the medium of translation, the questions we explore are the following : to what extent can translation be considered a key, unlocking doors to unknown cultures? Does the translating of texts lead to a cultural transfer, or does it lead to cultural distortion? Is the act of translating throwing violets into crucibles, destroying the fragile flower’s colour and fragrance, in short, killing the violet? The Grenoble University, in partnership with the Jawaharlal Nehru University has explored the dynamics of shifting mediums as humanity attempts to come to terms with the curse of Babel. We have analysed translations from the 18th century to the present day. How successful are these translations? Did the plant spring again from its seed and bear flowers – or was the curse of Babel insurmountable?
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Contributeur : Madhu Benoit <>
Soumis le : mercredi 6 février 2019 - 16:06:37
Dernière modification le : mardi 11 mai 2021 - 11:36:55


  • HAL Id : hal-02009841, version 1



Madhu Benoit. Violets in a Crucible’ - Translating the Orient. 2019. ⟨hal-02009841⟩



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